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Rationing Poor Consumers to Reduce Prices

Author

Listed:
  • Simona Grassi

    () (Max Weber Fellow, European University Institute)

  • Ching-to Albert Ma

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University)

Abstract

We study how rationing in the public sector influences prices in the private sector. A private firm uses consumers’ cost information for cream-skimming. Only rationed consumers consider purchasing from the private firm. Rich consumers are more willing to pay for an indivisible good, such as a health treatment, than poor consumers. The public supplier decides on a rationing rule, and then the private firm reacts by setting prices. In equilibrium, the public supplier must ration both rich and poor consumers. Supplying all poor consumers leaves only rich consumers to the private market. The firm reacts by setting high prices because all available consumers have high willingness to pay. Rationing some poor consumers provides an incentive for the firm to reduce prices because some consumers with low willingness to pay are potential customers.

Suggested Citation

  • Simona Grassi & Ching-to Albert Ma, 2008. "Rationing Poor Consumers to Reduce Prices," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2008-015, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2008-015
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hoel, Michael & Saether, Erik Magnus, 2003. "Public health care with waiting time: the role of supplementary private health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 599-616, July.
    2. Pedro Pita Barros & Pau Olivella, 2005. "Waiting Lists and Patient Selection," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 623-646, September.
    3. Hoel, Michael, 2007. "What should (public) health insurance cover?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 251-262, March.
    4. Simona Grassi & Ching‐To Albert Ma, 2012. "Public Sector Rationing and Private Sector Selection," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(1), pages 1-34, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simona Grassi & Ching‐To Albert Ma, 2012. "Public Sector Rationing and Private Sector Selection," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(1), pages 1-34, February.

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